BIG data

Richard Kimbell
2014, Vol. 19, No. 2,

Abstract


I was reading the Metro freebie on the way home the
other day and came across a report about the bravery of
teachers. Not those facing normal classroom challenges,
but rather the bravery of teachers in World War 1. Drawn
from 2.8 million service records, the website ‘Ancestry’
tallied the number of Victoria Cross, Military Cross,
Distinguished Conduct Medal and Meritorious Service
Medal winners against the number employed in various
professions in 1911. And it seems that teachers – with
leadership skills in abundance – were awarded
(proportionately) more gallantry medals than any other
professional group. Whilst this might be of interest
historically, culturally and even militarily, it was a quite
different perspective on the report that made me sit up
and ponder. Because the ‘finding’ comes from a very
simple bit of analysis on a very large data-set. It is another
example of the proliferation of BIG data, and what can be
done with it.

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